Monday, January 6, 2014
Meet the 8 chefs and designers competing for a spot at Kitchen LTO
You can vote for your favorite through January 11.
WEST DALLAS The team behind Kitchen LTO, a "permanent pop-up" restaurant in the budding West Dallas district of Trinity Groves, is once again calling on the public to choose a new menu and design to inhabit the space.
The LTO in the restaurant's name stands for “limited time only,” and since locally based Chef Norman Grimm began his residency there in October, a panel has been on the lookout for the next contenders, whose concept will live in the restaurant for just four months.
Sunday, Dallas-area gourmands had a chance to sample dishes from five chef finalists, as well as hear renovation plans from three designers. Those who attended the event voted for their two favorite concepts — one culinary and one design. The public can vote online at Kitchen LTO’s website through January 11. The winners will be announced January 14 and the new chef will begin serving on February 1.
Before we introduce you to the candidates, a word about the design: Kitchen LTO’s first incarnation allotted $12,000 to designers. Founder Casie Caldwell said Sunday that goal was “ambitious” and has since cut the budget for redesign to $2,500. Additionally, designers receive restrictions on what exactly can be changed; for example, the tree crafted for Kitchen LTO by its first resident designers from Coeval Studios will remain intact.
Here are the Kitchen LTO finalists:
Ryan Barnett — Dallas-native Ryan Barnett has an affinity for seafood, which allows his French culinary training to shine. Barnett previously spent two years as sous chef at Neighborhood Services. Sunday, he served smoked steelhead brandade, which had a mousse-like texture, atop a corn chip. Other items on his proposed, fish-heavy menu include oyster pie, crayfish dip and stuffed quail.
Ryan Clevenger — Another Texas-bred chef, Ryan Clevenger takes a more rustic approach to fine dining. Sunday he showcased his “new Texas” fare with a juicy Dr Pepper braised veal cheek slider. He balanced the flavors with a homemade spicy pickle. Other dishes on his proposed menu include Texas fried chicken and jalapeno honey-glazed pork chop.
Douwe Iedema — After spending 20 years in the Netherlands, chef Douwe Iedema described his style as worldly. At the preview event, his dish was chicken sate skewers — an Asian marinated chicken thigh atop a Napa slaw with roasted pineapple and a home fry with mayo. Chef Iedema’s proposed meals include white asparagus soup and beef tenderloin.
Moises Rico — A former chef at The Mansion on Turtle Creek and Lakewood Country Club, Moises Rico coined his style “modern Latin.” Rico’s lobster taco was one of the most enjoyable dishes of the evening, served with homemade salsa and a jicama slaw. Other potential items from his menu include halibut ceviche and beef medallions.
Eric Shelton — Chef Eric Shelton’s background in hotel service and catering prompted him to move to Texas from the Northeast several years ago. His “new American” fare had refinement Sunday when he served a deconstructed salmon BLT with a balsamic-soaked tomato and vinegar-dressed micro greens on the side. His proposed menu focused on hearty meats like duck and pork, as well as a vegetarian butternut squash risotto.
Stephanie Conrad — Dallas designer Stephanie Conrad envisions a minimalist and industrial look for Kitchen LTO. With a background in hospitality design, she wants to add Einstein lighting and a variety of blinds and rope as to separate the space into intimate sections.
Khoi Hoang, Julie Hornbeek and Amber Pickett — These three designers want Kitchen LTO to resemble an art space more than a restaurant, with stark colors and an “Instagram-worthy” display of clocks on the easternmost wall — that's their play on the “limited time only” theme.
Stefania Morandi — This Italian designer is already part of the Trinity Groves family, having designed both Casa Rubia and Souk. She wants to strip this venue of color and add dark greys and blacks for a simple, chic ambiance.
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